Army in Turmoil as Akron looms

Several Army fans have already written the Black Knights off. The team is 0-2 and, even worse has been embroiled in much turmoil.Army has absorbed blowout losses to Temple and New Hampshire. After the New Hampshire game, head coach Stan Brock said his team quit on him, then he "clarified" his comments.

Stud quarterback Paul McIntosh left the team. Running back Pat Mealy left the team and then came back.

It's been one rough month for Army. But all the pundits and fans who have written the Black Knights off have forgotten one angle. Sometimes turmoil pulls a team closer together and inspires them.

That's exactly what Army needs to happen against Akron at Michie Stadium. A loss drops the Black Knights to 0-3 with road games against Texas A&M and Tulane on the horizon. Things could get ugly.

If Army wins, there is hope. With a split on the road, the Black Knights are 2-3, and not totally out of the game.

"We all just got together and decided this isn't going to be that year," said Army offensive lineman Brandon Cox. "We are going to come together and have a good year. Last week, we focused on winning that particular day. Now we need to focus on the small things, the steps leading up to the game."

Akron seems like a more winnable game than Temple and Army. The Zips are 1-2, beating Syracuse, while losing to Wisconsin, and Ball State last week. Still, Akron has some dangerous weapons on offense, including quarterback Chris Jacquemain and running backs Dennis Kennedy, Alex Allen and Andrew Johnson, who have combined for 407 yards and five rushing touchdowns this season.

If Army plays like it has the first two weeks, turning the ball over, giving up big plays on special teams and doing nothing on offense, than it could be another long day at Michie Stadium. The Black Knights' defense might prove the backbone that the team needs this weekend. Army has allowed 31.5 points per game, but the defense has only allowed 17.5. That should be enough to keep the Black Knights in the Akron game. The Zips are averaging 27 points per game."After the first two games, we had our 24-hour rule, where we got to whine and cry then it was time to get back to business," Army linebacker John Plumstead said. "The bye week came at a perfect time. We had a chance to reevaluate where we were and how we had to shift our mentality. Obviously, something wasn't clicking and we had to switch some things around. Last week we came out really hard, flying around and trying to have fun playing football. Our challenge this week is coming out strong. The three days of practice last week were some of the best days we've had since I've been here. We just have to come out strong and take it one day at a time."It's been a long September, but Army has clearly not given up.

Extra points: This will be the fifth all-time meeting between Akron and Army. The Zips claimed a 22-14 win over the Black Knights in the teams' 2007 season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium. But Army holds a 3-1 advantage in the series, which dates back to 1991. That includes two shutout wins for the Black Knights ....... Here is Akron coach J.D Brookhart's take on Army: "They are a storied program with great tradition; and I look forward to traveling to their stadium. We have to change our mindset defensively to prepare for their veer option offense. They run a ball control offensive that is third in the nation in time of possession. We are unsure of which of the three quarterbacks we are going to see. They are all great athletes that can run the ball well. They are a hard-hitting, physical football team that is currently ranked 32nd in the country defensively. The defense tends to show the same base formation then drop into their coverage. They are all tough kids that don't get out of position very often. They make the opposing offense earn their yardage." ...... Former Army running back Reno Ferri is the running backs coach for Akron. He was a captain and three-year letter winner (1997-99) at Army. Top Stories